Getting Back to People

I remember a time around 10 years ago when I couldn’t phantom why people would not respond back to emails, texts, phone calls, Facebook activity, etc. However, over the years it has become more common place for people to be reaching out to me for all kinds of things. I have since worked jobs that require follow up and responding to various types of communications and requests. There is now so much correspondence that it is helpful to use a software just to manage the inflow of requests (I use Nozbe for all my task-management). There are so many things that one could possibly do that things come from all directions and we can get distracted and easily forget to respond to something. I am no longer and have not been recently living in a world where I wait for someone to call, text, or email me. With that being said, here are just a few reasons you may miss responding to people and how to fix them.

  1. You are just too busy. This one is simple, you are too busy doing too many things at once that things fall through the cracks. The solution to this is to work your way towards a more manageable schedule so that you are not running around like a chicken without your head.

  2. You don’t have a system in place. Everything can have a system to make it more efficient and effective. For example, you can set a time every day to review texts, emails, etc. if you find yourself forgetting. You can set multiple check points throughout the day if that makes it better.

  3. It is about priority. You have all kinds of priorities. This is the same for communications. Frequently there is communication that does not seem important and that is what falls through the cracks. Also, when something urgent comes up that can derail us and we can forget a piece or two of communication.

  4. You don’t want to be bothered. I figured I would throw this one in. There are times when we are not in the mood to be bothered with a certain person, a certain topic, a certain organization, etc. You do have a choice here. Maybe it is time for you to make a decision to stop communication with something that may not be beneficial overall. This could just be a mood that you are in at the time and you need to remember later on.

We all have had these times where we forget a message here and there. Some people are much better at getting back to you than others. Some of us change over time. I’ll be honest, I am not as good as I used to be at this. I occasionally miss communications all together, but try to make that a rare occurrence, and I usually do. I should also mention that sometimes a person may not see a need to respond while another does. That isn’t time management related at all, but rather just a point of discussion that you have. Please feel free to share your thoughts regarding getting back to people. I know that ADHD does play a role in this as well for me and it is easier for me to get distracted and to forget things when a lot is going on.

Having a Schedule with ADHD

I have frequently commented on the value of making a schedule. A quality schedule will benefit anyone who makes one which fits their life situation. For those with ADHD, it is even more beneficial. For example, before I made a schedule of any type of schedule, I didn’t get that much done. Even with ADHD, I did make schedule and when I did it has helped immensely. Here are just a few examples of what I did and how it helped me.

  1. It got me organized. When you have ADHD you have constant and racing thoughts. Ideas fly all over the pace. This is no different with schedules. Our minds can be all over the place with what we need to do.

  2. I got a lot more done. With ADHD, it is much better to do something or understand something when it is written down or typed out. With a schedule, we have a visual of what needs to be done.

  3. I developed more executive functioning. Executive functioning is a brain function that people with ADHD are deficient in. While we may be weak in that skill, like anything it can be developed and strengthened. We just have to work harder at it.

  4. I learned to enjoy planning more and scheduling more. When you find yourself getting better at something, you have a higher chance of enjoying it.

I have frequently shared the benefits of making a schedule, and more importantly a schedule that suites you. It may not be the best for you to schedule out every single minute of your day. Maybe, just the main events is enough for you. After all, you are going to know what you need to do and what will work best.

ADHD Themes

I want to take time to say thank you to whoever has read my blog over the past 26 months. So far I have discussed all types of time management techniques that I have found helpful to maximize the use of my time and to make time for purpose. So far the direction of this blog has been focused on various aspects of time management, but did not have a central theme. Now I intend to take to take this blog and everything else with Time is Me to a new focus. The focus will be focused on how to manage your time when you have ADHD. As I mentioned in my previous post and a few posts prior to this, I have overcome many time management/productivity struggles while struggling with ADHD. As a child, I did not have the ability to think ahead and just wanted to do what I wanted to do. There are many methods that I have mentioned over the past two years that have I employed to overcome my struggle with ADHD. I would also want to add that we are all different. What worked for me may not work for you. I understand that and would like to invite as much as feedback as possible regarding how you get your maximum productivity. There are several factors that come into play for each of us and for what works best for you.

Looking ahead, here are some topics that I intend to cover regarding my productivity journey with ADHD.

  1. How important having some kind of schedule is. Whether this was a datebook that I brought everywhere, a schedule on a pocket PC, various apps that sync across devices, etc.

  2. Why tracking time is important to knowing where you actually spend time. Especially when you have ADHD, this is not something that is natural to you so that way you will be unaware of where your time is going. Even when you do track your time, there may still be surprises in store for you just like they are for me quite frequently.

  3. Why it’s OK to switch methods. Especially if you have ADHD, you may not have difficulty sticking to one thing. I have switched method countless times and will continue to switch to whatever works best.

I will share plenty of more concepts and ideas as well as personal experience. Also, don’t feel that you have to have ADHD to continue to get value out of this blog. I would like to reiterate that any topic suggestions are welcome. I look forward to hearing more from you and thank you for reading.

Time Management with ADHD

If you know me you may be aware that I have grown up with ADHD. It was especially obvious if you have seen me as a child. I was a very hyper kid who did not have a great attention span. As I grew up, I have improved from what I was I as a child, but still do have some symptoms as an adult. What I do want to comment on here is the strategies that I have used to effectively manage my time while being officially diagnosed with ADHD.

  1. Find a way to make it interesting. I always needed to be engaged and interested in what I was doing to do it effectively. Whenever I wasn’t interested, I would end up not being focused and not productive.

  2. Develop a structure. There needs to be some kind of structure to make it effective. For me it was making schedules and following them as well as tracking time. It may be a different case for you.

  3. Be aware of how you work. Whether you have ADHD or not, you need to be aware of how you work and what makes you more or less effective in productivity.

  4. Make each task manageable. One struggle I run into the most is being overwhelmed by a large project or to do list and end up not getting anything done because it is difficult to even determine the next step.

I have made a strong effort to be as productive as possible and have came a long way from where I was. It can be a challenge trying to figure out how you work and what strategies work best. As my life changes, I am still working on finding the best methods to follow and they do change from time to time as well. I intend to comment more on my experience with ADHD and time management in the future. Please let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading.

Why a Consistent Schedule May Not be Necessary

Nearly two years ago I made a post about why keeping a consistent schedule is productive. I still do believe that it does and that is a goal that we should strive to. However, I do want to emphasize that we all have different life situations and at some points in our life, it may not be necessary to have a consistent schedule. In fact, there are several reasons why you either may not be able to have a consistent schedule or it is not practical to have one.

  1. You work a job with inconsistent hours. When you have a job with different hours from day to day and week to week, then it may not be possible to have a consistent schedule. In this case you do your best to be as productive as possible.

  2. You have kids. If you have kids, for the most part you schedule will be more dynamic and and not always consistent. I don’t have kids of my own, but can imagine that this is a good reason to not have a consistent schedule.

  3. You don’t work well with schedules. You may not like schedules. Maybe for you a schedule is counter productive. If that is the case and it’s working, keep doing what you are doing.

  4. You are in an unique life situation. Sort of like I am right now, where my schedule can vary from week to week. Whenever there is a large variance from one week to the next, it may not be beneficial to make a consistent schedule. 

The main takeaway that I want you to take away here is that there is not always a need to have an extremely consistent schedule. If you are in a situation as such, it may still be a good idea to have some routines that you stick to, even if the actual time each day varies.

Different Time Management Situations

We all have a life situation that is unique to us. This is why there is no straight forward way to do anything. If there was a cookie cutter solution to everything to life, we would all be doing it. Don’t get me wrong, there is always room to improve anything. Time management is not an exception. We all have different time management needs that will vary from time to time. It is important to understand that everyone has a unique situation that changes as our lives do. Here are just a few examples of what we should understand about a different time management situation.

  1. Someone is a student. When you are a student you need to organize your classes, exams, assignments, etc. Time management plays a large role but not the only role in success in school.

  2. Regimented schedule. There are situations where your time is completely managed by someone else; for example, like basic training in the military (thank you for your service). In this situation, the time management advice does not do you a whole lot of good.

  3. Working a 9-5 job. You don’t have much control over your work hours and frequently not what you do at work depending on your situation. In this case most likely you will be able to do a lot of things that you will be able to make yourself as efficient as you can.

  4. A lot of freedom over your time. There are many different reasons you can be in a situation like this. You may be an entrepreneur and are responsible for all of your time, you may be retired and have your time to yourself. You may be working a really flexible job or you are a freelancer. If you do find yourself in this category, then time management is the most important to you than the others.

Remember that everyone is unique and has an unique situation. There are situations that can require us to improve our time management situations that may call for us to lay off the regimented schedule for a while. For example, a vacation or a significant life event can cause having a schedule to take a back seat for a while.

My Dad’s Efficiency

This week I will not be releasing a typical blog post. My dad passed away on Saturday and I want to take time to honor him for who he was. He always loved to get things done and be very efficient. He was excited about crossing many items off of a to do list and then bragging about how much he got done! Like me, he was very systematic and always had a system set up to do the things the best he can. He was also obsessed with being organized. As I grew up I became more organized and systematic. Dad has always set an example of productivity and I will continue to carry the torch. Thank you all for reading.

Practice Makes Perfect

We have all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” While I personally believe perfection at anything is really hard to define, I do want to emphasize that the more you do something, the better you can get at it. This is true if when you have a knack for something and also true if you are terrible at something. The only difference is that you go from good to great or from terrible to just bad at something. The same applies to productivity and time management. It is a skill that can be developed as you practice it. There are several ways to “practice” your productivity that can get you further along. Here are a few examples.

  1. Keep making schedules and practice your routine. As I have said in previous posts, making some kind of schedule is a skill that can be enhanced when used. It is something you can get better at. I should also mention that making a schedule and actually following it is two different skills.

  2. Tracking your time. Deciding on how you want to track your time and how much you want to track is the first step. The next step is actually doing it and getting results that are helpful for time management decisions.

  3. Evaluating goals. It is a skill in itself to establish goals. It is another to track the progress of your goals. It is yet another to actually achieve goals. All of these things are challenging, but we better with time.

  4. Keep working at it. There are several times when you are working on something but get off track. It can be easy to get discouraged in the beginning, especially when you are not good at something to begin with. Making an effort to improve will get you to where you need to be. It is best practice to only compare yourself with yourself, not with others.

There may be times when it seems like we are really off track or inefficient. Just remember, it’s like playing a sport like basketball, leaning a subject, reading, writing, math, etc. It is something you can get better at and will. There are times where I get so far off track despite doing this for a long time, we will all have off days. Just remember, whenever you are have an off day, don’t compare your day with yesterday, but rather from longer ago when you started working on improving productivity.

The Perils of Flying Time

I wanted to give this post an unusual title mainly to put an emphasis on the topic. Time flies by very quickly and here’s a spoiler alert, it doesn’t seem to slow down. The older any person gets it seems to speed up. As you may know if you know me is that I do have a really strong long-term memory and can recall details of any given date for over a decade. This ability only magnifies the reality that time flies by and waits for no one. The events from a year ago feel like they just happened. As I go through my memories, I feel both a joy for the progress I have made in certain areas, what has changed for the better, and what I have learned. On the other hands, I know there are goals that I had a year, two years, and even 5+ years ago that I haven’t reached. There are things that haven’t happened and I don’t know why they haven’t. We all have these kind of thoughts when we look back and realize how quickly our lives do go by. It is so easy to think of when you are young that you have so much time, but don’t let this be a reason to procrastinate or wait until later. If there is something you can do now, do it now! There is no reason to wait because if you keep putting it off until tomorrow or some day, you will realize five years later that those days never actually came! Here are a few reminders for you whenever you want to put something off until tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

  1. Time goes by quicker than you think. All of our lives are busy in some way. There is so much information coming at you these days and all kinds of events that each day brings us that make the day fly by. One minute you sit down with a cup of coffee in the morning and before you know it, you are turning the lights off to go to bed. Now it is hot outside, but before you know it we will have the snow shovels and heavy jackets out.

  2. Procrastination is your really your worst enemy. To re-emphasize my last point, whenever we put things off, it doesn’t help us. Putting off something until next week, may actually end up being years!

  3. Limit the number of projects you have going on at the same time. The more you have going on the same time, the quicker time will fly and the quicker you will realize that you are not really making progress because you are scattered all over the place. This is all the reason more to have focused and detailed goals

  4. Don’t drive yourself crazy. Another mistake you can make is that you take the realization of how quickly time flies too seriously. When you do this, you try to accomplish too many things too quickly and burn yourself out. You do this long enough you will drive yourself into the ground and you won’t be able to do anything for a while if you really go too far to the point of serious burnout.

I encourage you to make it a practice to realize that time will go by quicker than you anticipate and you have less time then you think. In the short term, you should plan 8 hours for something that you think should take 5 or 6 hours. In the long term, plan a year if you think it’s 8 months. Of course this is not an exact science, but a general rule of thumb is to plan for more time than you have. This will relieve you of a lot of stress and aggravation. Finally, this works on the other side as well, giving yourself too much time to accomplish something will give you the license to continually procrastinate and keep putting something off until “some day” which as a reminder, is not a day of the week and will not go on a calendar. I hope this serves as a reminder as it does for myself as a push to get working on your goals!

What is Your Productivity Personality?

We all have an unique personality. There are several different types of tests you can take to find out more about your personality. I am pretty sure you have heard of introversion and extroversion. You have probably heard of task orientated vs people orientated. There are many tests you can take to help you find out more about yourself like the MBTI, Color Code, DISC Assessment, Enneagram, etc. For over a decade I have been fascinated about the concept of personality and how learning about it can help you and those around you to work better and more productively. Productivity is an important part of everyone’s life and is the goal for everyone alike whether you are a business owner, manager, employee, a parent, and even a student. Just like we have our own personality, we have our styles on what make us the most productive. Below are just a few examples of productivity personalities.

  1. Yak Yak Yak to the Bank. Most people look at someone who talks a lot and wants to always be interacting with other people as not productive, but that is only the case in a task orientated atmosphere. There are careers for people like this like talk show host, news reporters, speakers, hostesses, etc. These people really do get energized by interaction with others and discussion and even if people like this are not in a job that requires interaction, allowing them a few breaks just to shoot the breeze with others will boost their productivity. I am like this in the way that I get energy from interaction and that talking to people will help me energy to focus on something.

  2. Line em up and mow em down. This is the person that just wants to get things done. People like this are like a freight train and will barrel through whatever they are doing. It is best not to disturb this person when he or she is in the zone. That is unless you don’t mind getting run over. I could be like this at times, but not always. This is the person who may have a to do list of over 100+ items, and plans on accomplishing all of those items right away. This I brings me back to a time when I did actually have about 100 items completed on a to do list in one day.

  3. Best left alone. This is the opposite of the talker and a person that really needs to be left alone to focus. They do their best work alone and hate being interrupted. Now pretty much no one likes to be interrupted, but this productivity style hates it the most. There is plenty of work in the world that requires a deep focus so it is good to let this person do that.

  4. Planning and analyzing but not enough doing. Some people prefer to plan rather than take action. We can make great detailed schedules but get bored trying to follow them and can get off track. Or maybe we just like that part of the process so much that that we get stuck in them. This type of person will most likely love details and will notice all kinds of things that the rest of us may overlook.

  5. The “lazy” one. Some people do not place a high value on productivity, therefore they prioritize other aspects of life. It is important to find out why someone on your team doesn’t work as they should or carry their weight and address it. They may not always be lazy either as there may be life circumstances outside their control to cause then to be this way. Also, someone who may appear “lazy” may just be slower paced, calm, and relaxed. This is a very valuable characteristic in organizations. This is why I use the quotation marks for lazy because what I intend to do here is provide a different perspective.

As you may have concluded already, we are much more complex than what we see here in this list. We are probably all a combination of at least two and probably a little of all of them at times. Each of you should be able to identify one that fits you the most but will probably different ones at different times and for different reasons. We are all wired differently and are productive in different ways. It is definitely beneficial to understand each other and what makes us tick the most towards productivity.